Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge Deadline

The deadline for submitting 1-page project proposals to the Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge is extended to 23 March. The aim of the challenge is improving the living conditions of more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

This challenge is initiated by Turk Telekom, in partnership with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and Bogazici University, with support from UNHCR, IOM, and UNICEF, among others. It makes available anonymous call patterns of Turk Telekom’s mobile phone users in Turkey, including citizens and refugees. The participants of the challenge will be given access to a number of datasets, collected from one million customers over the course of one year, and anonymized so that no personal information is present. The participants will submit project reports at the end of the Challenge.

The datasets include cell tower locations, site-to-site traffic on an hourly basis, fine-grained mobility of a subset of customers for 15-day periods, and individual trajectories for a subset of customers over the entire observation period with sub-prefecture location information. Call Data Records (CDR) of phone calls and SMS exchanges are made available. Additionally, each CDR record is tagged with a “Refugee” flag that indicates (with high probability) whether the record belongs to a customer with refugee status or not.

Source: D4R Website Picture

The general aims of the Challenge are to:

1) Contribute to the welfare of the refugee populations,

2) Gain insights on key issues, including safety and security, health, education, unemployment, social integration and segregation, mobility, and distribution of resources and infrastructure,

3) Help governments and international bodies model the dynamics of the refugee populations and to discover vulnerabilities (socio-economic vulnerabilities, gaps in education and services, etc.),

4) Seed further projects, co-created with refugees, resulting in new applications, services, and innovative solutions for refugees in Turkey and elsewhere.


Participation will be under a strict agreement to protect data confidentiality and privacy. Research teams applying for the Challenge will be lead by a permanent staff member of an institution, and all team members will be individually named in the agreement. A short proposal describing the aims of the team will be submitted for application. The applications will be evaluated primarily on their ultimate benefit to the refugees. Commercial use of data is not permitted.

The Project Evaluation Committee will select five projects, one for each of the major Challenge themes (i.e. security and safety, health, education, unemployment, integration), and prizes (50K TL) will be awarded at the end of the Challenge. The project reports, after evaluation, will be made public, and a white paper will be prepared to present the findings of the projects in an accessible way to the relevant ministries and the NGOs. Participants will retain full ownership and copyright of their work. Upon submission, participants agree that all submitted material will be public and covered under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) open licensing agreement, allowing use of the material with due credit for the authors.


Timeline of the Challenge

January 2018: Call for projects

23 March 2018: Deadline for 1 page project proposals (and optional presentation)

5 April 2018: Project evaluation results, sharing of datasets

31 July 2018: Submission deadline for project reports

September 2018: Evaluation of reports

October 2018: Project workshop and the public announcement of the winning projects


You can find more information on the Challenge on the website:

To submit a project proposal, use the ‘Register Now‘ link.

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